Measuring progress towards Sustainable Development in the European Union

Publikation: AbschlussarbeitDissertation


There is broad agreement that global society should strive for a high quality of life that is equitably shared and sustainable. In the early 1970s, the realization that achieving quality of life is linked to the environment and the services it provides triggered a chain of international events that resulted in the emergence of the concept of sustainable development (SD) as a way to balance economic, social and environmental policy objectives. Today, the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda with its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the most ambitious and comprehensive global political commitment to SD so far, aiming to help humanity achieve a good life for all within planetary boundaries. This cumulative thesis focuses on supporting the achievement of the SDGs both globally and in the European Union (EU), by contributing to important research strands in the academic SDGs community. Through its three article contributions, the thesis complements and expands the existing literature on SDG monitoring and SDG interaction studies. The first article adds to the discourse on composite SDG indices by suggesting a new progress measurement method that addresses an important weakness of contemporary approaches. The second article uses the progress measure developed in the first paper to scrutinize the 2030 Agenda’s indivisibility principle with respect to the socio-economic development vs. environmental sustainability dichotomy of the SD concept. By doing so, the paper contributes to both the discourses on composite SDG indices and SDG interlinkages. The third article addresses the call for considering the specific national contexts when investigating SDG interlinkages. It undertakes an in-depth analysis of the relationship between the SDGs, by examining SDG interlinkages in the economy-environment nexus using Austria as example case. The findings of the three articles do not only contribute to advancing the respective academic discourses but also have important implications for SD policy making, with the aim to help ensure that the 2030 Agenda's vision of the future we want actually turns into the reality we live in by 2030.
QualifikationDoctor of Philosophy
Gradverleihende Hochschule
  • Institut für Nachhaltigkeitsmanagement
Betreuer/-in / Berater/-in
  • Martinuzzi, Robert-Andre, Erste*r Betreuer*in
  • Giljum, Stefan, Zweite*r Betreuer*in
  • Gratzer, Georg, Berater*in, Externe Person
Datum der Bewilligung31 Okt. 2022
PublikationsstatusAngenommen/Im Druck - 27 Feb. 2023